Jagatsinghpur, April 9 (LocalWire): The Congress stronghold in three Assembly constituencies here has gradually weakened while the BJD has improved its base considerably.
The inclusion of Congress leaders in the BJD has helped the ruling party challenge both the Congress and the BJP in different seats of this district.
Jagtsinghpur district has four Assembly seats including Jagatsinghpur, Paradip, Tirtol and Balikuda-Erasama Assembly constituencies.
The three Assembly constituencies other than the Jagatsinghpur Assembly constituency were strongholds of the Congress. But after the distribution of tickets, the party has faced factionalism that led to several of its partymen joining the BJD.
Interestingly, the BJP has failed to woo the harried candidates from the three Assembly constituencies in favour of the party while the BJD has been successful in strengthening its grassroots level by including the rebels into their party fold.
In Paradip, BJD faced a rebellion after Sambit Routray was given the ticket but now the party leaders have shown sympathy towards him and agreed to co-operate to help him win the Assembly poll.
The OPCC secretary Pramod Kishore Jena and his supporters including observer of Cuttack City Ranjan Kumar Das, Vice president of district Congress committee Sarat Kumar Dash, secretary of PCC Kisan cell Biswanath Pani, president of Paradip youth Congress Santosh Kumar Biswal, general secretary Kisan cell Nabin Kumar Das and other Congress leaders like Dhurba Chandra Das, Srikant Das, Soumaya Ranjan Rout on the other hand resigned from the primary membership of the Congress and joined the BJD vowing to defeat Congress candidate Bapi Sarkhel from Paradip seat.
As a result, the base of BJD in Paradip has strengthened while it slipped out of the Congress putting Sarkhel in trouble.
In Tirtol, the Congress has fielded a new face, Debi Prasad Mallick, son of former minister and MP Laxman Mallick but he lacks rapport with the voters. Rise of dissidents like Debendra Mallick and Rajkishore Behera, who felt ignored, have also not helped during the election campaign.
Local Congress leaders were dissatisfied by the selection of the MLA candidates and the BJD eyed these disgruntled leaders to woo them in favour of the BJD MLA candidate Bishnu Das.
In Balikuda-Erasama seat, Congress has fielded former MLA Lalatendu Mohapatra as its candidate while other aspirants like Sarada Jena and his supporters were disgruntled after the ticket distribution and are likely to join in BJD within one or two days further weakening the party.
Political observers felt the BJP failed to rope in the disgruntled Congress leaders in the saffron party fold while the BJD has been fully successful to garner it thus strengthening the BJD base in all three Assembly seats except Jagatsinghpur where the sitting MLA Chiranjib Biswal has a clean image.